Ruqsana Begum, a British kickboxing champion of Bengali origin, won a bronze medal at the Muay Thai Kick-boxing World Championships in Russia recently. Ruqsana broke the Eastern European dominance at the World Championships to win the bronze medal.
The Muay Thai kick-boxer from East London reached the semifinal in the 48kg competition, where she lost on points against her Belarusian opponent. Across the weight categories professionally trained fighters from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus stood the plucky British Bengali fighter.
Ruqsana, who beat an opponent from Mauritius in the quarterfinal, before losing her semifinal match, was delighted with her performance. She said, “They're like superstars over there. I was up against some really tough opponents so I'm very proud.”
“Fighters in Russia and Belarus have funding to train full-time, they have professional coaching and nutritionists, for example, and I gave them a really hard time. “I knocked my opponent down in the first round of the semi-final, so I was really pleased.The 28 year old is the current British female Muay Thai Champion and captain of the British Muay Thai Team. Ruqsana has held her title since November 2010, and has also won a gold medal at the European Club Cup in Latvia in July 2011.
The Bengali woman has her family's full support and has become a very popular figure in East London. As well as training, Ruqsana is a coach at the charity which uses boxing as a prevention and rehabilitation model to confront the problem of child and youth participation in crime, gangs and gun violence within disadvantaged communities.
Ruqsana is also a part-qualified architect and works two days a week as a science technician at a local school. She took up boxing after she turned 18 and fights in the amateur Atomweight division.